The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints clash in Week 1 of the new NFL regular season this Sunday in a 1 p.m. start at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. FOX will carry the TV broadcast.
The Buccaneers ended the 2017 regular season with a 31-24 victory against New Orleans as six-point underdogs at home after losing the first meeting 30-10 on the road as seven-point underdogs with BetAnySports. This was part of a straight-up 5-11 record on the year. They went 6-9-1 against the spread with the total staying UNDER in six of their last nine contests. Tampa Bay was 2-2 SU and ATS in this year’s preseason.
With Jameis Winston out of the lineup due to a three-game league suspension, veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start on Sunday. He actually started six games for Tampa Bay last season; completing 59.3 percent of his throws for 1,103 yards and seven touchdowns. One of his top targets on Sunday should be Mike Evans as the team’s leading receiver in 2017.
The Saints ended a string of three-straight seven-win seasons with a SU 11-5 record that was good enough to clinch the NFC 2017 South Division crown. They were an even 8-8 ATS with the total going OVER BetAnySports’ closing line in nine of the 16 games. New Orleans won three of its four preseason games this year both SU and ATS. Its projected win total for the regular season is 9.5 games with -150 betting odds favoring the OVER.
With Drew Brees back under center, you know that the Saints will try and move the ball downfield through the air. It does not help that their top running back Mark Ingram is out of the lineup for this game due to his own four-game suspension by the NFL. Second-year back Alvin Kamara should help fill the void along with Mike Gillislee, who was just signed to a one-year deal.
Laying 9.5 points against a division opponent in the first game of the season comes with some betting risk, but I still like the Saints’ chances to win and cover at home.